Difference Between Value and Virtue

Main Difference – Value vs Virtue

Values and virtues are significant concepts that shape our behavior. Although most of us use words such as values, virtues, principles, morals and ethics interchangeably, there are subtle differences between these words. In this article, we’ll be looking in-depth at the difference between value and virtue. The main difference between value and virtue is that values are principles or standards of behavior that help one to decide what is important in life whereas virtues are qualities that are universally or generally considered to be good and desirable.

This article explains, 

1. What are Values?
     – Definition, Characteristics, Examples

2. What are Virtues?
     – Definition, Characteristics, Examples, Religious Views

3. What is the difference between Value and Virtue?Difference Between Value and Virtue - Comparison Summary

What are Values

Values are principles or standards that are considered as important or desirable. They can be defined as “principles or standards of behaviour; one’s judgement of what is important in life” (Oxford dictionary). They are the standards that form the foundation of an individual’s character, shaping his personality, attitudes, behavior, and perceptions. It is these values that help us to make different choices in our lives.

Values are often subjective – each individual may have a set of values that are unique to him. This happens because each of us gives important to different things. For example, one might think that honesty is better than kindness whereas one might put more value in kindness above all other qualities. These different values govern how we behave. For example, suppose your friend is wearing a dress that does not look good on her. If you value candor above all, you might say outright that the dress looks horrible, but if you put more value on being kind, you’d not directly say that it looks horrible.

Values of a person can be based on various elements such as his or her family and social background, culture, religion, and experience. Values may also change over time.

Main Difference - Value vs Virtue

What are Virtues

Virtues are qualities that are considered to be good or desirable in a person. Virtues have high moral value. A morally excellent person has many virtues such as honesty, trustworthiness, patience, kindness, courage, etc.  Vice is the opposite of virtue. Virtues compel a person to always do the right thing no matter the cost. Virtues may also be influenced by different factors such as culture and religion. Thus, different individuals may have different views on virtues.

Different religions also have different virtues. For example, Christianity has seven heavenly virtues: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility; the four brahmavihara in Buddhism can also be viewed as virtues: meththa (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), muditha (altruistic joy), andupekka (equanimity).

Difference Between Value and Virtue

The seven heavenly virtues: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility

Difference Between Value and Virtue


Value: Values are principles or standards that are considered as important or desirable.

Virtue: Virtues are qualities that are considered to be good or desirable in a person.

Moral Excellence

Value: All values may not be desirable or have moral goodness.

Virtue: Virtues have high moral values.


Value: Values are subjective and personal since an individual can decide what is important to him or her.

Virtue: Virtues are qualities that are universally accepted to have high moral value.

Image Courtesy:

“1123013” (Public Domain) via

“Anton Francesco dello Scheggia – The Seven Virtues – Google Art Project” By Anton Francesco dello Scheggia (Documented from 1465 – 1476)Details of artist on Google Art Project – RAE07M59BboKdA at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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